In the past two years, we have observed a new trend in some legal markets. For a variety of reasons, senior associates and non-equity partners are leaving their law firms to start their own.
A common factor in these departures, however, is a conclusion that there no longer is a persuasive business case to remain in the firm, and that, notwithstanding the risks, the opportunities are better in one's own firm.
Are you thinking about starting your own law firm? Here are some things to think about.
Here are two papers that we originally published in 2003, which you might find helpful as you make your decision. Click on the titles to download each paper in PDF format.
At some point in their careers, most lawyers seriously consider solo practice or starting a new firm. Each lawyer approaches this opportunity with a unique set of talents, aspirations, and resources. There are several critical questions that every lawyer should consider before taking this big step; and here are some general answers that Walker Clark consultants frequently offer.
The business world offers literally hundreds of checklists of preparations and considerations for starting one’s own business. This document recommends that the most important preparation of all is the one within oneself.
Are you ready to start your own firm? Do you have the values,interpersonal skills, and leadership behaviors that are necessary even in a solo practice? This checklist asks about personal attitudes, skills, and behaviors that will have a direct impact on your ultimate business success.
Your answers will not tell you whether you should start your own firm. However, they will help you understand better the unique set of personal strengths and risks that you bring to your new venture. This self-knowledge can help you anticipate better the challenges that you will confront.
It can also suggest a strategy to strengthen that most important professional asset of all – yourself.
Norman Clark and Lisa M. Walker Johnson